MILWAUKEE — Sen. Rand Paul challenged Sen. Marco Rubio’s conservative credentials at the Republican presidential debate Tuesday, saying his plan to give families child tax credits was a $1 trillion giveaway and not conservative.
Taking a shot at Mr. Rubio, who emerged as a top contender in the crowded field, Mr. Paul said that voters would have to decide who were the true conservatives in the race.
He held up Mr. Rubio’s tax credit and his plan to expand military spending by $1 trillion as examples of unpaid for spending that would drive up debt.
“To me, that’s not conservative,” he said at the Milwaukee Theater, where the eight top Republican candidates met on the debate stage.
Mr. Rubio argued that the child tax credit was not a transfer payment but a repayment of taxes paid, including payroll taxes imposed on all workers. He said that the tax credit should be viewed as an investment in families and in their children’s futures.
Furthermore, Mr. Rubio said that increased military spending was necessary to combat rising threats such as from the terrorist army known as Islamic State.
He called the decidedly libertarian Mr. Paul an “isolationist.”
“I don’t think we are any safer from bankruptcy court,” responded Mr. Paul. “As we go deeper in debt, we are less safe.”